Lebanon: Hariri retracts resignation

Cabinet meeting at the Presidential Palace in Baabda east of Beirut

Cabinet meeting at the Presidential Palace in Baabda east of Beirut

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri will attend talks in Paris Friday on the crisis triggered by his recent resignation announcement to be attended by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, France said Tuesday.

Lebanon's prime minister said he would remain in office after governing partners pledged to stay out of neighboring conflicts, a month after his resignation threatened to drag the country deeper into the Middle East's major sectarian confrontation.

Hariri announced he was stepping down on November 4 in a televised address from Saudi Arabia.

Presidential sources have confirmed that all parties, including Hezbollah, have approved the expected statement and gave Aoun the green light to proceed with this matter.

The policy had already been adopted by Hariri's cabinet, formed in 2016 after a settlement across political divides.

"The Lebanese government, in all its political components, has committed to distance itself from all conflicts, wars, and internal affairs of Arab states", according to the cabinet statement read out by Hariri.

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The Lebanese government said in a statement read by Hariri: "The cabinet thanks its leader [Hariri] for his position and for revoking his resignation".

Lebanon, where Sunni, Shiah, Christian and Druze groups fought a civil war from 1975-1990, has a governing system created to share power among sectarian groups.

His resignation was seen as part of an intensifying power struggle between the Saudi kingdom - which had long backed Hariri - and its regional rival Iran, which backs the armed organisation Hezbollah. His father, a former prime minister, was assassinated in 2005.

"Developments in the region suggest a new wave of conflict". Hariri's resignation raised fears that Lebanon could be plunged into chaos, and provoked widespread speculation.

The Lebanese President had said at the time Hariri was being held against his will in Riyadh, a claim Hariri denied.

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